Thrilling games, the semis. Yesterday an impromptu party erupted at our house when Eric and Martine came to watch the game bearing a quick stove-top paella with sausage, shrimp, mussels and octopus (as I said before, in Spain they eat it, in Germany they use it for futbol predictions…) I made gazpacho with Green Zebra tomatoes and Armenian cucumber from the garden, which turned out a beautiful jade green and full of fresh flavor. Of course we drank waaaaay to much wine…and when Spain scored, we lost it. Poor Will.
I must say that, amazingly, I actually had feelings for Germany at the end of the game. For the first time in my futbol-watching life, I enjoyed watching them play as this young new team does not rely on fouls and opportunistic counter-attack scores. They actually PLAY futbol, an enjoyable, exciting style to boot. My brother Ariel echoed my feelings after the quartefinals beautifully (warning; colorful language ahead):
“Thank U Germany for playing ball, and for exposing Argentinians for what they truly are: A bunch of opportunistic, overestimated, crying mommy´s little boys, pussies…Thank you Holland for kicking Brazil’s ass out of the tournament, who sadly have turned into a bunch of Cristiano Ronaldo-Argentinian hybrids who think a yellowish-green tee-shirt is enough to win a World Cup. And above all, thank you Ghana and Uruguay for proving there is still hope for Football and for showing what it takes to aspire and deserve to win a World Cup…”
And I add: thank you Spain for being the best team in the cup, period.
So, there will be one last weekend of food and futbol at the house, as the bittersweet but inevitable end is here. A dream final coming up on Sunday. I am happy for both teams, and although I will be cheering on Spain, I will not be upset if Netherlands wins. Not sure if I will cook on Saturday or watch the game elsewhere, but if I stay home we’ll have abendsbrot with a variety of meats and cheeses from Germany and will try to make lengua a la vinagreta, a classic of Uruguayan and Argentine cuisine that I forgot to make when Argentina played Mexico. Here is a recipe I found on a site from Uruguay:
Lengua a la vinagreta (tongue in vinaigrette)
1 cow’s tongue
3 hard boiled eggs
2 garlic cloves
½ cup chopped parsley
Salt & pepper to taste
Boil the tongue until it is very tender. Let cool in the water, then peel and slice thinly. Chop parsley, garlic, and eggs, place in a glass bowl and add vinegar and oil as needed to make a good amount of vinaigrette. Season with salt & pepper. Put sliced tongue on a serving platter and drizzle with vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Flavor improves as it stands so it’s best to make a few hours ahead.
I will be hosting on Sunday and have already decided on lots of tapas for Spain and rijsttafel for Netherlands. Rijsttafel is Dutch for “rice table” and is a sort of buffet of small bites created by the Dutch during colonial times when they occupied Indonesia. It consists of different kinds of rice (plain, yellow, or coconut) served with a variety of dishes like satay, curries, gado gado (fresh veggie salad with peanut dressing) sambal (spicy pickled vegetables,), and shrimp chips. When I worked at Satay Restaurant back in the 80s we did Rijsttafel every Sunday for brunch. I am excited to make this at home since I never have cooked Indonesian! For Spain I have some great recipes from Janet Mendel‘s great cookbook, “My Kitchen in Spain,” which she autographed for me in San Antonio a few years back So, although nothing is quite set in stone, this is a sample of a possible menu:
Dutch Rijsttafel: yellow coconut rice, chicken or beef satay, gado gado, something curried, shrimp chips, sambal
Spanish tapas: pulpo a la gallega (we’ll be eating Paul the Octopus’ friend), ensaladilla de mariscos, cheeses, jamon serrano, anchovy stuffed olives, gazpacho shots… and of course wine and sherry, and cava to celebrate the victory!